Washington (dpa) - An estimated 1.2 million people are killed and up to 50 million people are injured or disabled in road accidents worldwide each year, making it the second leading cause of death among 5 to 29 year olds, the World Bank said in a report Wednesday.
On average, some 3,000 people are killed each day because of poor road safety, according to the World Bank, which projected that global road fatalities will increase by more than 65 per cent between 2000 and 2020 unless new safety measures are implemented.
Eighty per cent of road deaths worldwide occur in developing countries, even though residents there own less than 20 per cent of the world's vehicles, and the number of road injuries in developing countries is rapidly increasing, the report said.
The World Bank, which launched a joint initiative with the World Health Organization to improve global road safety, estimated that by 2020 more than 300,000 people will be killed on the roads each year in China and India.
The bank estimated the costs of road accidents account for 1.5 to 2 per cent of the gross domestic product in many developing countries. By 2020 road deaths and injuries are predicted to be the third leading contributor to the global burden of disease and injury.
"Road crashes are too often considered accidents as if they were an inevitable feature of everyday life, WHO Director General Jong- Wook Lee said. "This is simply not true - we know the causes of road traffic crashes and we know how to prevent most of them."
Copyright 2004 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH